Consumer VI Organizations
The following is a list of organizations that provide advocacy and information specific to working with individuals who are blind or visually impaired. If there are additional resource books or websites you feel should be listed here, please let me know by completing the form below and I will add them.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is a professional membership association for eye care physicians. They work to ensure that the public can obtain the best possible eye care and quality of life. They provide information on eye health for consumers and referrals to member physicians. Eye Smart provides consumer eye health news and information on a variety of eye diseases and disorders.
The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is a service agency that specializes in providing blind people help that is not readily available to them from government programs or other existing service systems. The purpose of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults is to assist blind and deaf-blind persons in securing reading matter, to educate the public about blindness, to provide specialized aids and appliances to the blind, to give consultation to governmental and private agencies serving the blind, to offer assistance to those losing vision in their later years, to offer services to blind children and their parents, and to work toward improving the quality of life for the blind and deaf-blind. In 1997 the American Action Fund started a program to provide children who are blind with a free Braille book every month from a popular children's reading series. The books are for the children to keep and collect for as long as they want them.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is a membership organization of people who are blind and visually impaired. Uses advocacy and education to improve the well-being of people who are visually impaired. The ACB holds an annual conference and convention which includes a trade show of all the latest high- and low-tech devices for blind and visually impaired individuals, a variety of seminars, workshops, and break-out sessions on a variety of topics for parents, students, teachers, braille users, guide dog users, visually impaired entrepreneurs, lawyers, and much more.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a non-profit organization that provides information, directories, publications, and links on visual impairment and blindness issues. They promote employment, independent living, literacy, and technology for people with visual impairments. They also provide referrals to local rehabilitation services. The AFB eLearning Center offers an accessible Learning environment that includes online courses, webinars (both live and archived), and ePublications. They also hold the annual AFB Leadership Conference.
The American Optometric Association is a membership organization of optometrists, provides information on visual conditions, eye diseases, and low vision; consumer guides for eye care; a glossary of eye and vision conditions; and a database for local referrals to optometrists.
The American Optometric Association provides information on low vision and maintains a list by state of their members who specialize in low vision.
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the worlds’ largest agency devoted solely to creating products and services for people who are visually impaired. Their publications, assistive devices, and materials are available through catalogs and online. Also, APH also offers webcasts on a wide range of topics including trainings specific to products offered by APH.
ARCA is an organization of rehabilitation counseling practitioners, educators, and students who are concerned with improving the lives of people with disabilities. Rehabilitation Counselors are counselors with specialized training and expertise in providing counseling and other services to persons with disability. Its mission is to enhance the development of people with disabilities throughout their life span and to promote excellence in the rehabilitation counseling profession.
The purpose of the Association of Blind Citizens (ABC) is to advance relevant causes, increase opportunities in education, employment, cultural, recreational and other life activities, as well as enhance the social and economic well-being for all persons who are blind or legally blind. ABC offers publications, informative meetings, a special radio show, In Focus, as well as education, employment, recreational, and cultural opportunities to promote full inclusion in society.
The Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) is a professional membership organization dedicated to professionals who provide services to persons with vision loss. We promote and support the professions by advocating for evidence-based practices, high-quality standards, value-added resources, and giving voice to issues of critical importance. They provide professional development through conferences, virtual offerings, and publications to strengthen the knowledge, skills, and abilities of professionals within the field.
Maintains a nationwide volunteer corps to offer employment networking and rehabilitation counseling for veterans with visual disabilities. Supports medical research on sensory disabilities.
Assists veterans who have been blinded by providing rehabilitation and vocational training, job placement assistance, and location of aid from federal, state and local resources through field services. Operates a volunteer service program in veterans' communities and provides information and referral services.
Bookshare provides access to books that are legally scanned for people who are visually impaired or print disabled. It is available to people with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers that can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading. The books can be read with adaptive technology or in embossed braille.
The mission of the Braille Authority of North America is to assure literacy for tactile readers through the standardization of braille and/or tactile graphics. The purpose of BANA is to promote and to facilitate the uses, teaching, and production of braille. Pursuant to this purpose, BANA will promulgate rules, make interpretations, and render opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines for the provisions of literary and technical materials and related forms and formats of embossed materials now in existence or to be developed in the future for the use of blind persons in North America. When appropriate, BANA shall accomplish these activities in international collaboration with countries using English braille. In exercising its function and authority, BANA shall consider the effects of its decisions on other existing braille codes and guidelines, forms and formats; ease of production by various methods; and acceptability to readers.
The Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss. They offer free programs, classes, and services in Southern California, but also offer online resources about vision loss.
The Carroll Center for the Blind provides help for people who are blind including training and adaptive devices to individuals of all ages who have lost their sight so they can live independent and fulfilling lives. They also offer technical training and low vision products as well as online courses and video tutorials.
Holds conferences and webinars on technology for persons with disabilities including those who blind or visually impaired. Publishes an e-magazine, Closing the Gap.
CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides professional development, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice. CEC is known as THE source for information, resources, and professional development for special educators. CEC has local Units in all 50 states and Canada, as well as 18 optional Special Interest Divisions focused on a specific topic, specialty area, role, or exceptionality. We also have CEC Student Chapters at hundreds of colleges and universities.
Promotes the right o individuals who have partial sight to maximize the use of their residual vision. Educates the public on the needs of persons who are visually impaired. It provides information about available services and has support groups and chapters throughout the United States. Publishes Vision Access.
The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) collaborates with the VR agency in administering the VR program. Among its several responsibilities, the SRC reviews, evaluates, and advises the VR agency regarding its performance and effectiveness in delivering services, including the effect of service provision on the achievement of employment outcomes by individuals with disabilities. The SRC also seeks input from community advocates, business and industry representatives, and disability groups, as agencies develop and implement policies and procedures that directly affect the individuals served by the VR agency.
Discovery Eye Foundation works to find treatments and cures to sight-threatening eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, keratoconus, ocular herpes, and retinitis pigmentosa. It provides information and personalized support to the public through it's Macular Degeneration Partnership, National Keratoconus Foundation, and Discovery Eye Foundation blog.
Do It Blind is a leader in JAWS script development (a proprietary programming language) and Blind Accessibility solutions. Their primary goal is to empower the visually impaired through the use of cutting edge technology, screen readers and JAWS script programming.
Envision promotes advocacy and independence for those who are blind or have low vision. Envision’s mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration for the blind and visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education, and research. Education is a central focus of Envision’s mission but the organization also presents various programs throughout the year for specialists and for students who are blind and visually impaired, including several assistive technology camps for middle and high school students. Their annual conference brings in experts from around the globe to share information, and a series of grand rounds programs focusing on specific areas of low vision.
The urgent mission of the Foundation Fighting Blindness is to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments, and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. For a $25.00 annual membership fee, FFB offers information and referral services for affected individuals and their families as well as for doctors and eye care professionals. Their national conference is usually held every year.
Operates a national clearinghouse on post-secondary education for persons with disabilities. Collects and disseminates information about educational services, policies adaptations, and opportunities at U.S. colleges and universities training schools, independent living centers and other post-high school training options
Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults provides rehabilitation services, employment services, services for students, low vision services, as well as services for seniors and those with developmental disabilities.
Lighthouse International provides vision rehabilitation services, education, research, prevention, and advocacy. It can refer you to service providers in your area. Lighthouse provides professional development and public education. It also conducts researching the area of visual impairments.
Initiates service projects such as sight conservation and diabetes education through more than 46,000 clubs in 200 countries. Provides free glaucoma screenings and devices, including braillewriters and white canes. Collects used eyeglasses to distribute in developing countries and sponsors guide dogs. Supports eye research centers worldwide and Lions Club camps for people with visual disabilities.
Educates and advocates for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and its National Eye Institute, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs. This coalition of professional, consumer, and industry organizations is affiliated with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, a nonprofit educational foundation.
The National Braille Association provides continuing education to those who prepare braille and to provide braille materials to persons who are visually impaired. Assists transcribers and narrators in the development and improvement of skills and techniques required for the production of reading materials for individuals who are unable to access standard print.
National Braille Press is a non-profit braille publisher and producer of braille materials. NBP creates products and programs to support braille literacy in the blind community and to provide access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community.
The National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) is the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s (RSA) central repository for training resources in vocational rehabilitation. The NCRTM offers the vocational rehabilitation and education communities, grantees, researchers, trainers and practitioners the opportunity to gain visibility for their work, while contributing new knowledge to their specific fields.
The National Eye Institute conducts and supports research that helps prevent and treat eye diseases and other vision disorders. Part of the NEI mission is to develop public and professional education programs that help prevent blindness, reduce visual impairments, and increase awareness of services and devices that are available for individuals with low vision. They provide consumers with the National Eye Health Education Program, the Healthy Eyes Educational Toolkit, and information on a variety of eye diseases and disorders.
Increases opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind by creating, sustaining, and improving employment. Develops business opportunities in government and commercial marketplaces for NIB’s network of associated nonprofits. Allocates federal contracts for SKILCRAFT, a line of products created by individuals who are visually impaired or severely disabled, and for other products and services produced through the AbilityOne Program.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is "the oldest, largest, and most influential nationwide membership organization of blind people in the United States. Founded in 1940, the NFB advocates for the civil rights and equality of blind Americans, and develops innovative education, technology, and training programs to provide the blind and those who are losing vision with the tools they need to become independent and successful.”
The National Rehabilitation Association (NRA) is the oldest professional member organization in the United States that advocates for the rights of individuals with disabilities while also promoting high quality, ethical, and collaborative practice across the rehabilitation profession.
The National Rehabilitation Counseling Association (NRCA) champions rehabilitation counseling as a distinct discipline of teaching, practice, and research from which an integrated system of content and skill areas directed toward enhancing the physical, social, and economic inclusion of people with disabilities has developed. NRCA supports a holistic approach to its mission, welcoming professionals from varying academic fields to share in the development of research, scholarship, best practice, and communication that address expanding opportunities for people with disabilities of all ages to participate in and contribute to the larger community.
Enhances employment and independent living outcomes for individuals with visual impairments and agencies that serve them through research, training, and education. Provides a National Technical Assistance Center website for businesses, service providers, and consumers. Publishes studies on successfully navigating transitions into higher education and employment.
Provides information and referral services for musicians with visual impairments, especially students using braille music or specialized technology. Arranges help with preparation for music theory courses by connecting people with experts in the field, virtual tutoring, and residential seminars for college-bound musicians. In Connecticut, collaborates with others on arts-focused learning and enrichment programs for children and adults.
National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment (NTAC-BVI) in or with the field of rehabilitation of persons who are blind or visually impaired. Most are available through PowerPoint slides and lecture. To get continuing education credit, the student must complete a full course, pass the quiz with a score of at least 80% and complete a course evaluation.
The Northeast Regional Center for Vision Education (NERCVE) is committed to improving education for people with visual disabilities. In addition to in-person and online training and professional development (see their University of Massachusetts listing under Professional Preparation Programs), they host an employment board, professional directory, and Listserv. Although their focus is on the Northeast Region of the United States, they provide valuable information and current news and events that apply to all regions.
Paths to Literacy is a collaborative project between the Perkins School for the Blind and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI). These two schools have combined their resources and expertise to assist educators and families in providing literacy experiences for children who are blind or visually impaired. Information includes an overview of literacy and challenges specific to students who are visually impaired. Join their blog for the latest information!
Paths to Technology is a website from Perkins School for the Blind, designed to assist educators and families in learning and staying current on ever-changing technology for students with visual impairments and blindness. Blog posts include tutorials, lists of products, and reviews.
Positive Eye director, Gwyneth McCormack, provides training and consultation to Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments across the UK. In addition to courses, she offers a Shared Ideas page with great activity suggestions on a range of topics specific to working with students who are blind or visually impaired as well as a Top Access Tips page with curriculum access suggestions.
It provides public and professional education research and industrial and community services to prevent blindness. Services include screening, vision testing, and dissemination of information on low-vision devices and clinics.
Safe Toddles features videos and a description of the wearable cane. Safe Toddles builds and donates Toddler Canes as they see wearable canes as essential to encouraging toddlers with visual impairment to develop to their potential. With consistent path information and increased safety through reliable warning, toddlers who are blind blossom when they wear their canes most of the day.
Global representative for manufacturers of vision products and services. Promotes growth in the vision-care industry through continuing education, research, assistance, strategic relationship building, and industry forums. Raises awareness of low-vision rehabilitation among eye-care professionals, people who are visually impaired, and their caregivers.
History of vi
Vi organizations & Agencies
VI book resources
Individual Learning Differences
Community Based Experiences
Concepts to Teach
Organization & Study Skills
Movies & Assemblies
Lectures & Instruction
Board Work (Chalk, White, etc.)
Numbers & Counting
Cranmer Abacus Instruction
Geometry & Spatial Sense
Measurement & Data
Early Literacy Experiences
Create Tactual Books
Social Studies Adaptations
Accessible Educational Materials
Individual Schedules & Communication Cards
Optical Devices for Near
Optical Devices for Distance
Optical Device Use
Pictures & Worksheets
Word Processing and Shortcuts
Navigate Computer w/o a Mouse
Braille Instruction Materials
Summer Reading (braille)
Signature & Handwriting
Nemeth Braille Code
Tactile Graphics Guidelines
Creating Tactile Graphics
Tactile Graphics Instruction
Teacher Made Materials
Overview of Assistive Technology
VI AT Resources
Non-Optical Low Vision Devices
Video Magnifier Instruction
Screen Enlargement & Readers
Low/Med. Tech Tactual Devices
Tactile Graphics Technology
Auditory Access Devices
Accessing Audio Books
iPads as Instructional Tools
Making iOS Device Accessible
iOS Accessibility Resources
Apps for VI
Note Taking apps
Apps for Accessing Books
Navigation & Location Apps
Sound Making Apps
Cause & Effect Apps
Vision Skills Apps
Apps for Early Learning
Read to Me Story Apps
Apps for Communication
Android Apps for VI
Encourage Use of Vision
Sensory Area & Rooms
Sensory Activities for Students with Multiple Disabilities
Visual Efficiency Skills
Visual Attend and Scan Activities
Visual Tracking Activities
Visual Discrimination Activities
Visual Motor Activities
Developing Skillful Hands
Listening Skill Instruction
orientation & Mobility
recreation & Leisure